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An Investigation of an Independent Learning Approach in University Level Chemistry: The Effects on Students' Knowledge, Understanding and Intellectual Attributes

Cukurova, Mutlu (2014) An Investigation of an Independent Learning Approach in University Level Chemistry: The Effects on Students' Knowledge, Understanding and Intellectual Attributes. PhD thesis, University of York.

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Abstract

The aim of this study is to provide a preliminary insight into a teaching strategy which deploys independent learning in degree-level chemistry. For this purpose, the impact of the teaching approach applied in a Macromolecules course on students’ knowledge of, understanding about chemical ideas, and intellectual attributes was investigated. To achieve this, diagnostic questions both before and after the teaching, descriptive questionnaires and standardised interviews were used. The sample consisted of first-year undergraduate students who took the Macromolecules course in the Department of Chemistry in one of the top ten universities in the UK. In total, one hundred sixty-seven students took part in the study and interviews were carried out with twenty-four students. The results revealed that the independent learning strategy applied in the Macromolecules course can be effective in improving students’ knowledge of and understanding about chemical ideas, as well as contributing to some of their intellectual attributes. It was also found that when students were left on their own to do independent investigations, without any support, their knowledge of and understanding about chemical ideas from the course content did not change statistically significantly. In addition, whilst there was no statistically significant change in student responses with a sign of misunderstanding for nine out of ten diagnostic questions, in one case there was statistically significant increase in the number of student responses with a sign of misunderstanding. The results of this research study also presented a detailed and personal picture of students’ views of the independent learning approach. Student arguments for their appreciation and disapproval of the strategy were revealed and discussed. The findings of this research study can offer a supplementary resource for teachers at tertiary level to use in situated ways when dealing with similar course contents and similar learning objectives which they encounter during their practice.

Item Type: Thesis (PhD)
Keywords: Independent Learning, Tertiary Level Chemistry Education
Academic Units: The University of York > Department of Education (York)
Identification Number/EthosID: uk.bl.ethos.629370
Depositing User: Mr Mutlu Cukurova
Date Deposited: 11 Nov 2014 13:55
Last Modified: 08 Sep 2016 13:31
URI: http://etheses.whiterose.ac.uk/id/eprint/7160

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